▷ What is E-Commerce and how this business works

ecommerce definition

E-commerce or electronic commerce is one that is carried out remotely, outside a physical store, through telematic means and that is booming due to the widespread use of the Internet.

In the 90s and, above all, in this 21st century, buying and selling through the internet has been developed, and favored by:

  • The appearance of new electronic payment methods: not only credit and debit cards but other electronic payment systems through our current account and even platforms created on the Internet to make payments.
  • New advertising and promotion systems through network search engines such as Google or Yahoo (and many others) with them we can reach the potential consumer through direct advertisements or by paying to achieve better web positioning.
  • As a complement to the above, applications have been developed that tell us where the closest store or professional we are looking for to our geographical location is located.
  • Creation of specific websites for this type of operation that, basically, are advertising pages for exchanges between individuals.
  • The distribution companies themselves instead of opening a store (or in addition to it) create their websites where they offer us their products and we can buy them this way.

A significant percentage of the products sold by this means is the sale of software or applications and computer programs.

There is also a very important percentage of electronic transactions that are carried out from individual to individual, strengthening, with this electronic market, the second-hand market.

For the seller (and even for the manufacturer who wants to sell directly) this type of sales has enormous advantages:

  • Very important cost reduction, not only in the avoidance of intermediaries but also in the elimination of physical distribution infrastructures such as stores, and even more so in products that do not have to be physically delivered, such as computer programs and applications.
  • Get potential clients that, otherwise, would be out of our reach since with the internet our market expands to the whole world.
  • Significant improvement in communications between seller and customer that, in addition, are useful to retain our buyers.
  • In relation to the foregoing, the means of advertising promotion through the network allow us to personalize the offer so that our advertisements (which have an economic cost) reach a certain segment of the public that is the one that interests us.
  • Media such as images, audio, and video can be used to make sales.


Tax obligations, both in the formal aspect and in relation to the payment of taxes, are exactly the same in internet operations as in the rest of traditional sales. Therefore, the seller is obliged to register in the tax census through Form 036 (with the corresponding IAE heading) and fulfill their formal obligations regarding withholdings, payments on account and corresponding tax declarations as Companies, VAT and personal income tax.

Services provided through processing equipment on internet servers are services provided that are subject to VAT.

For sales made in the rest of the European Union, it is very interesting to register in the tax censuses created ad hoc.

The seller is obliged to issue an invoice on the same terms as in other types of operations.

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Place of performance of the operation

  • If the seller and buyer are in Spain in the VAT territory, the rate that corresponds to the operation in Spain will be applied.
  • If the purchaser is a businessman or professional from another EU country, the corresponding VAT will be applied, which, if registered in the VAT Number (ROI), will be exempt.
  • If the purchaser is an EU consumer outside of Spain, the Spanish VAT will be paid.
  • If the buyer, whether a businessperson or professional or not, is outside the European Union, VAT should not be charged.
  • VAT will not be charged if the buyer is a businessman or professional established in the Canary Islands, Ceuta or Melilla.

Taxation on the sale of second-hand items

In this type of transaction, there is no need to declare anything since we are not dealing with a lucrative activity, but if the value of what is sold exceeds €1,000, it would be subject to the Property Transfer Tax at a rate of 4%.

If the purchase or sale of second-hand items is not between individuals but is done by a business that is dedicated to this type of transaction, then it would be subject to the corresponding taxes and must comply with the obligations as explained above.

Consumer protection

The general consumer protection regulations in Spain (Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 of November 16, in addition to other regional and local regulations) apply without exception to operations carried out remotely and, also for this reason, to purchases by the Internet, also applying the regulations on services of the information society and electronic commerce.

Thus, all guarantees on after-sales service, warranty periods, health and safety protection, information, withdrawal rights, abusive clauses, claims and administrative procedures for consumer protection are applicable to this type of sale.

In addition, the aforementioned RDL 1/2007 establishes a series of specific rights and guarantees for distance purchases (those made without the simultaneous physical presence of the entrepreneur and the consumer) which are:

  • Internet sales operators must respect consumer regulations and comply with the obligations established by law.
  • Commercial communications must make it clear that they are commercial communications.
  • The use of communication techniques through automated systems without human intervention must be expressly consented to by the consumer or user.
  • The consumer or user has the right to oppose receiving unwanted commercial communications.
  • The rules on the protection of minors must be applied.

Information prior to the distance contract

In order for the consumer to be bound by the purchase he makes, he must previously receive the following information:

  • The main characteristics of the goods and services you are buying.
  • The commercial name and personal data of the seller.
  • Contact information (physical address, email address, telephone, fax, etc.) so that the consumer can contact him quickly and efficiently. Also, the address of the main employer if he is different from the seller.
  • The total price includes taxes and all other expenses such as transportation. If it is not possible to fix the price or expenses, the necessary data for its calculation.
  • The forms of payment, delivery and execution.
  • The language in which the contract will be formalized if it is different from the one used for the information.
  • The terms and forms of exercising the right of withdrawal and, if any, the expenses that the consumer would have to pay in this case or in the case of return costs.
  • Information on the legal guarantee of conformity for the goods.
  • About the guarantees and post services come that they exist.
  • The existence of codes of conduct and where they can be consulted.
  • The duration, if any, of the contract.
  • If applicable, the minimum duration of the obligations contracted by the consumer, as well as the existence of economic guarantees or other conditions that the consumer must assume.
  • When it exists, extrajudicial means to assert their rights.

Formal hiring requirements

It must be written in good faith, in a clear and understandable way, and contain all the information that we have listed in the previous point.

Specifically, it must contain clear information on the consumer’s payment obligations; the consumer must be able to clearly see what he is committing himself to and, if the contract is made through a button, he must clearly specify “order with payment obligation” or a similar expression.

The website must clearly indicate if there are any restrictions on deliveries and what payment methods are accepted.

The entrepreneur must communicate to the buyer, through durable support (such as an email or SMS) the confirmation of the operation with complete information about it.

It is up to the employer to prove that these obligations have been met.

In any case, the consent of the consumer or user must be expressed, and the lack of response can never be considered an acceptance.

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Right of withdrawal

The consumer through the internet has the right to withdraw from the contract within 14 calendar days without giving a reason and without any additional cost. This right is inalienable.

This term begins, for the purchase of services since they are contracted and for goods when the consumer receives the purchased goods.

If the seller has not duly informed the consumer of this right of withdrawal, the withdrawal period is extended to twelve months.

If you are informed later, it will be 14 days from this information.

The way to withdraw is to communicate it reliably to the seller within the term.

Execution of the contract

The seller is obliged to fulfill the contract without any delay and, at the latest, within 30 days.

If there are going to be delays, the consumer must be informed immediately and will be entitled to a refund of what he would have paid. In case of unjustified delay in the return of the money, you can claim double the amounts and you can also claim damages if any.

If the purchased good or service is not available, another with similar characteristics may be delivered without an increase in price. The consumer may exercise his right of withdrawal.

If the purchase is made with a card fraudulently, the legitimate owner may demand the immediate cancellation of the charge.

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